Maryland bill proposes changes to DUI laws

Maryland bill proposes changes to DUI laws

| Mar 9, 2017 | Drunk Driving |

A mild winter in Maryland will soon give way to spring’s warmer temperatures. Many, when the weather warms up, take to the great outdoors. One activity enjoyed by people in Maryland is boating or going for a scenic drive. However, what they may not know is that drunk boating, just like drunk driving, is against the law. And one Maryland politician is seeking tougher penalties for drunk driving and drunk boating.

Under current law, if a person under the influence of alcohol causes “life threatening injuries” either while operating a vessel (including pleasure boats) or while operating a motor vehicle, a DUI conviction could result in a three-year jail sentence and a $5,000 fine for the first offense. A first conviction of driving while impaired could result in a two-year jail sentence and a $3,000 fine.

The problem, according to one Maryland politician, Del. Brett Wilson, is that “life threatening injuries” isn’t defined. Therefore, he proposes changing that language to “serious physical injury,” defined as an injury that causes disfigurement or a significant impairment. The penalties would remain the same. However, opponents to the bill claim it would make it so that the law applies to many more cases. The bill has been introduced to the House Judiciary Committee.

Most people operating a motor vehicle or boat do so responsibly. It may be legal to enjoy a drink beforehand, so long as your blood alcohol content level doesn’t rise above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Unfortunately, if this new bill becomes law, it is possible that more people would be punished. Therefore, it may be important for Maryland residents to understand how this bill will affect them if it becomes law.

Source: Herald-Mail Media, “Del. Wilson bill seeks tougher penalties in Md. For DUI injuries,” Tamela Baker, March 2, 2017